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Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Start Early and Prepare Now!

walkathong-canva-one-time-use.pngI hope last year was a great fundraising year for you and your organization. But I’m sure you’re wondering how you can make this year even better for your nonprofit.

Well, if you want to raise more money, acquire more donors, and strengthen relationships with your current supporters, try peer-to-peer fundraising.

If you read “6 Back to School Lessons for Online Fundraising,” you’ll know that I praised peer-to-peer fundraising as being one of the best ways to raise money while staying engaged with your donor base.

While you can technically host a peer-to-peer campaign at any time of year, they work best when they lead into the spring and summer months.


Well, most peer-to-peer campaigns are tied to outdoor, active events like walkathons or marathons. Not many people want to walk or run several miles when it’s freezing, snowing, or raining.

That means that, if you want to host an amazing peer-to-peer fundraiser, you need to start preparing right now.

This article is going to take you through the steps you’ll need to plan a fantastic peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

  1. Select your platform.
  2. Choose your fundraisers.
  3. Put info packets and templates together.

For more in-depth information about peer-to-peer fundraising and how to make it work for your organization, check out this article.

1. Select your platform.

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It’s going to be difficult to start a peer-to-peer campaign without the proper software. Before you get too deep into the logistics of your fundraiser, shop around and choose a peer-to-peer platform.

Of course, not all peer-to-peer platforms are equal. Here are some features you should look for:

  • Social sharing integrations. Your fundraisers will need to share their peer-to-peer campaign pages across social media and via email.
  • Customization options (for your nonprofit and your fundraisers). You don’t want your peer-to-peer page to look like everyone else’s!
  • Email and/or phone support (depending on how much help you think you’ll need). Peer-to-peer campaigns can become complicated. Make sure you’ve got backup!
  • A secure payment processor. Make sure that your donors’ info is safe with a PCI-compliant payment processor.
  • Add-ons like fundraising thermometers, badges, leaderboards, and more. These additional features will make fundraising, well, fun!
  • A mobile-responsive design or a mobile app for fundraising on-the-go. Many of your fundraisers and donors will want to use their mobile devices to support your organization.
  • Online event storefront (or the ability to sell merchandise in some way). You can sell merchandise like T-shirts, water bottles, and mugs to raise more money!
  • Donor management and donation tracking. Keep up with valuable insights, data points, and donation trends.
  • Integration with your other fundraising software and CRM. Make sure all of your donor data can flow easily from your peer-to-peer platform to your CRM and communications software.
  • Event registration buttons and signup sheets. If people want to sign up for your walkathon or other event, give them the option to do so on your peer-to-peer fundraising pages!

This may seem like a lot of features to look for, but don’t worry! Most of these come standard with the best peer-to-peer platforms.

You can sort the rest by their priority to your nonprofit. For example, if you know that many of your supporters enjoy giving via their mobile devices, it will be important for you to look for a mobile-responsive peer-to-peer platform.

Pro Tip: Get as much information as you can about a peer-to-peer software provider before you get on board. The last thing you want is to start a campaign with a subpar peer-to-peer platform!

Bonus: For help selecting peer-to-peer software, check out this list.

2. Choose your fundraisers.

DTD-GuideStar-Peer-to-peer fundraising-2.pngOnce you’ve chosen your peer-to-peer fundraising software, it’s time to select your fundraisers!

This is arguably one of the most crucial steps of the peer-to-peer planning process. Without dedicated and motivated fundraisers, your nonprofit won’t be able to meet your goal.

Plus, according to this article, the top 5 percent of your social influencers reach 85 percent of your entire network reach. This means that if you can select the cream of the crop, you’ll be able to raise enough money to reach your goal!

Dig into your donor database to find these individuals. You want to look for patterns and traits such as:

  • Average donation size. Larger donations signal a willingness to see your organization succeed.
  • How long the individual has been giving to your organization. The longer someone has been giving to your organization, the more likely they’ll be to help with your peer-to-peer fundraiser.
  • Volunteer history and level of involvement. Individuals with a history of non-monetary involvement with your nonprofit have demonstrated their desire to help you accomplish your mission.
  • Event attendance history. Supporters who have attended several events (as opposed to none) are more likely to want to help you with your peer-to-peer efforts.
  • Social influence and reach. Someone with 400 Facebook friends, 500 Instagram followers, and a strong Twitter profile is more likely to raise more money than someone who doesn’t have any social media profiles.

Of course, not all of your peer-to-peer fundraisers are going to possess all of these qualities. Additionally, just because someone looks like the perfect candidate in your database, it doesn’t mean that they’ll want to participate in your fundraising efforts.

However, these five data points are worth analyzing when trying to choose your peer-to-peer supporters.

Send out emails and make phone calls to the individuals you think would be the best fit for your organization’s peer-to-peer efforts.

You can also advertise the opportunity by creating a banner across the tops of your site that invites visitors to join your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts.

While you can allow people to join your peer-to-peer campaign at any time, I recommend that you institute a deadline for your fundraisers to register by. That way, you can train everyone at once, and no one is jumping into the fundraising at the last minute.

Pro Tip: When asking people to join your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, highlight the importance of your mission and the benefits of fundraising for your organization.

Bonus: Learn more about how you can increase donations with peer-to-peer fundraising.

3. Put info packets and templates together.

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Your info packets and/or templates should ideally be created before all of your peer-to-peer fundraisers are registered and on board.

These information packets or templates are designed to help supporters navigate their fundraising experience.

Since most of your fundraisers will have limited experience asking for donations, they’ll need your help to prepare!

Your info packets and templates should include information about:

  • Your nonprofit’s general mission and the specific purpose behind your campaign.
  • Setting up and customizing a fundraising page.
  • Asking for donations from friends and family members.
  • Using social media and email to raise money and awareness.

Your packets and templates should also be branded to your nonprofit and include your colors, logo, and/or mission statement.

March of Dimes has a great example of an effective peer-to-peer fundraising info packet.

March of Dimes - Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Info Packet.png

This is only one page out of their six-page packet, but there are several awesome things about this page:

  1. They highlight the top five ways to raise money and emphasize that “successful fundraisers use a combination of the five channels below.”
  2. They provide a download link for “guides, posters, and other resources.”
  3. They include a team T-shirt order form.
  4. They talk about their “March for Babies” app and remind fundraisers that they can use it to track their donations in real time.
  5. They mention matching gifts at the end of the page to remind fundraisers that they may be able to double the money they raise.

A page like this is a great starting point if you’re just beginning to put together your fundraisers’ info packets and templates.

Pro Tip: You should also ask your fundraisers what they need to be successful. They might need some kind of support or resource that you didn’t even think about!

Bonus: If you’re training peer-to-peer fundraisers in person (or if you’re hosting a webinar), check out “Getting Started as a Fundraising Trainer” for training tips.


Hopefully, you’ll be able to implement these peer-to-peer planning tips within the next few weeks or months. I hope that your peer-to-peer fundraiser is successful!

Bonus: For best practices that you can use during the campaign itself, check out these resources from Salsa and Fundly.

adam-weinger.pngThe preceding is a guest post by Adam Weinger, President, Double the Donation.  Adam is blending his corporate experience with nonprofit fundraising. After speaking with a host of nonprofit organizations about the need to access matching gift funds in a cost effective way, Double the Donation was born.

Topics: Fundraising Donations peer-to-peer